’Tis the season to be jolly

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sony20131104“Undas” is over. In the Philippines, this only means one thing: Christmas season begins. Well, unofficially, it already started when the “ber” months came in two months ago.

For a predominantly Christian country, not to mention people obsessed with long holidays, Christmas tops them all when it comes to celebration. And expensive too.

Although, the ìofficialî start of the Christmas season is on December 16, coinciding with the yearly Christian tradition of the Midnight Mass, thereís no stopping Filipinos in preparing for the most celebrated day of the year, months before the day actually happens.

Of course, aside from the symbolic day on the birth of the Christian Savior—the exchanging of gifts, the bonuses, XXth month pay, the parties, family reunions, all these also happen in December. All have become yearly ritualistic tradition so hard to break.

Pardon me if I skip the topic on the Child Christ, and focus more on stuff ñ or gadgets for that matter—your money can buy this jolly season.


Letís begin on November 15, where the predominant telco, together with the number two player, will finally release what could be the most-anticipated gadget this year, the Apple iPhone 5S.

Smart and Globe will be trying to grab the local iPhone market share by releasing the iPhone 5S on the same day and just in time for the Christmas shopping season. The two telcos will also make available the colorful iPhone 5C, hopefully at a more affordable price or plan.

Although the iPhone 5C, which was supposed to be a cheaper version of the iPhone 5S, has already been criticized for not being cheap at all.

At any rate, both models will be now be “officially” available. No word yet if third ranking Sun Cellular will carry the iPhone too.

As for other gadgets that people could giveaway as gifts, or even reward themselves with—I can’t seem to remember a time when these gears and gizmos are so much available and affordable.

Gone are the days when gadgets are reserved only for the “can afford.” Smartphones, which used to hover above the P30,000 mark, are now down below P5,000. Thanks to branded China-made mobile devices from the like of Lenovo, Huawei, and ZTE, people can now enjoy the power of these pocket-sized computers without digging deep into their pockets.

Tablet PCs too have become ubiquitous. It has become a standard gear for many urban mobile warriors. Thanks to Google Android, one can take home a 7-inch tablet for less than P3,000, which was unimaginable only a couple of years ago.

And to top it all, Smart and Sun have formulated monthly plans that combine a tablet and smartphone in one affordable package. Smart even has an iPad mini among the many choices. How cool is that?

As for digicams, well, market shares are already shrinking. No thanks to smartphones with very capable point and shoot camera function.

Still, itís one of those gadgets hard to ignore. Sure, you could see many people now brandishing D-SLR cameras—even some with expensive lenses – all because prices of these kinds of digicams have gone down considerably.

But, if you have the money and planning to buy a new digicam at the end of the year, skip the point and shoot and go directly for the mirror-less version with interchangeable lenses. Examples of these cameras are the Olympus Pen and Sony NEX models.

They function like a D-SLR, easy to use like a point and shoot, and theyíre small and light. Best of all, you wonít be sorry.

For notebook PCs, if you want them powerful and ultralight, go for the Intel-powered Ultrabooks. I’ve seen prices of these ultra-thin mobile devices already cut in half. Yes, many of these models from brands such as ASUS, Lenovo and Dell are way below the P40,000 tag. For the Apple fanboy, however, the MacBook Air is still the best choice.

We will have more of these gadgets, gears, and gizmos as the jolly season draws near.

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